Camper trailer-easy tow. Husband passed away, need advice

Discussion in 'Camping Community Board' started by Eeyore's Tiara, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Eeyore's Tiara

    Eeyore's Tiara DIS Veteran

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    My husband and I had been planning on purchasing a camper trailer to use for trips like trips to Disney. We had been looking for a type that would hopefully hold a golf cart, and before he died a motorcycle.

    My kids and I would like to continue with what we had all planned together though it is hard for me since my dh and I had been so excited about getting to do this.

    My question which I hope is not silly is what type would be easy for me to tow? I have been looking at the jayco, keystone, and aerolite. Does anyone know anything about these brands? Or do you have a different brand preference? I am worried about towing it and I promise I will practice once we have it, but hope to find one that is easy to maneuver because that would really help out.

    I have a Ford E350 van that should pull anything easily. My mom will probably go with us when we camp, and she's used to trailers but she's getting older and one that tows well would help.

    I hope this is enough information, and not too much!
     
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  3. des1954

    des1954 DIS Veteran

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    I can't answer your question about the trailer, but I wanted to express my sympathy for your loss.

    I'm happy to read you're attempting to go ahead with your plans! It will be good for you and your children!

    Blessings-
    Deb
     
  4. 2goofycampers

    2goofycampers Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!

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    I say that Jayco makes an excellent product and I wouldn't own any other RV. Be sure your golf cart will fit, don't forget heighth also. Get a good towing set up, weight distribution and anti-sway.

    I'm sorry to hear about your husbands passing. If you don't mind me asking how long ago did this happen?
     
  5. Eeyore's Tiara

    Eeyore's Tiara DIS Veteran

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    des1954: Thank you for your sympathy it is truly appreciated. I am trying to keep things normal for my kids even though it breaks my heart everytime I do something we had planned. Each day I tell myself just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll make it through.

    2goofycampers: What do you like about the Jayco?

    My sweet husband passed away on June 12th of this year. We were not prepared for it and I am still in shock for the most part. I am continuing with our plans so I have a reason to get up each morning.

    My dh and I loved the camraderie of the camping boards and lurked here often. He couldnt wait to go this year. He was more excited about this than when we stayed at the GF. He was helping me with the trailer decision, I got input on the inside and he was going to choose the type. He even bought me RV magazines...:love:
     
  6. Us3

    Us3 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/smilies/tin

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    Hello and welcome to posting on the camping forum! :wave2: My deepest sympathy for your loss. You sound like one heck of a lady and mom! Your strength and commitment to carry on with your plans to purchase a camper is awesome!

    We have owned Forest River campers and have been satisfied with them. Unfortunately all manufacturers seem to have their "issues" from time to time.

    Good news being in Texas is that you can just about camp year round. Nothing better than camping in Texas in the fall and winter! :goodvibes Best advise I can give you is to research the heck out of the model you decide on and go in knowing the top $ is that you are willing to pay. No offence, but RV dealers can sometimes be worse than a stereo typical used car dealer.

    Best of luck with your decision! See ya on the boards!
     
  7. 2goofycampers

    2goofycampers Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!

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    1. Quality workmanship and materials
    2. 2 year warranty
    3. Our local dealer
    4. If you have a problem they are great at getting it resolved
    5. Been in business 40 years
    6. Family owned
     
  8. VACAMPER

    VACAMPER <font color=blue>We make the kids walk and strap b

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    Good for you for making your family dreams come true. Your a strong woman.
    Best of luck.
     
  9. Eeyore's Tiara

    Eeyore's Tiara DIS Veteran

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    Us3: thank you for your welcome. there are alot of places to camp in texas and thats something i can hopefully do with my girls. I will look at the Forest river campers and see what they have. I will miss having my dh do all the research and finding exactly what we wanted. And having him deal with the salesman...

    2goofycampers: thank you for the information. I will look for local dealers

    vacamper:
    I really wish I felt as strong as everyone says I sound. I have been hearing that alot and I don't think I am. I continue to go forward, when I really want to stop and lie in a corner and cry all day. But it wouldn't do my girls any good. My middle daughter is suffering from depression right now and she needs me to keep going for her and give her something to look forward to. This trip is hope....

    And I do tend to cry at the drop of a hat right now and my friends tread lightly around me. :sad1: I just didnt want to overload everyone here with my emotions.
     
  10. pepperw23

    pepperw23 <font color=blue>Ouch, my brain hurts now<br><font

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    You unload all you need to. :grouphug: Everyone needs an outlet

    I have said a prayer for you and your daughters.
     
  11. the5coops

    the5coops Mouseketeer

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    We have owned a Jayco and now have a Keystone Outback. The Jayco was hands down a better camper. The Jayco's quality was much better than our Outback. We went with the Outback because of floor plan. The kids were growing out of the hybrid beds and we needed room for 4 kids.

    I noticed you were from Texas and I will PM you to tell you where we bought our Jayco.

    I am sorry for your loss. I think you are very brave.

    Shelley
     
  12. mamaloya

    mamaloya <font color=blue>Blows hard and hot and boils us<b

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    You have my sympathy as well.

    My husband is deployed right now and I went to FW in February w/o him. I drive a Chevy 1500, which is the equivalent of a Ford E-150 or thereabouts. Be careful of weight and stay well below your tow limit. Look at GVWR, not UVWR. As sonya said, rv salesmen are slimy (some anyway). They will convince you that you can tow anything, but that is not true.

    I own a Kodiak Skamper, which I love, but cannot recommend. The company is Thor/Dutchmen and the quality of workmanship is not there. Cabinet latches don't line up, quality of materials is low, etc.

    I too have heard great things about Jayco. We had a fleetwood that we loved as well, but I think those are a little overpriced.

    As for doing it w/o hubby. I have been there. I went to FW, and have made a few 5 hour away trips with it. I would recommend having an electric tongue jack put in just to take a little of the work out of it. Although, with kids your kids ages, they can help. My dd12 helps guide me to hitch up and to back in, just agree ahead of time what the signals are and make sure they know how get out of the way fast and yell STOP really loud. LOL My ds8 lowers the stabilizers and chocks the wheels (always chock BEFORE you unhitch). dd12 also knows how to hook up the cord to the van and latch on the tongue to the ball. She can turn the propane on and turn the fridge on. She also helps with the electric and water. ds8 can also do the electric and undo it. I, unfortunately, have the sewer hose all to my self. :sick:

    I definitely would get a weight distributing hitch and a good sway control. When those big rigs pass, hold tight because you will get pushed and then pulled a little bit. I just accelerate a little bit as I see them coming and it helps. Listen to your transmission and watch your temperature. Every time we stop, I also do a walk around our TV and RV to make sure everything is still fine. Tires are still good, hitch still hitched, w/d bars still on, etc. Just for my peace of mind. Also, stop every 2 hours to stretch, you would be amazed at how much energy it takes towing. You can't drive as fast or go as long.

    If you are skittish, get a dog. I hate dealing with our dog, but he is a godsend. He is the first alert if someone even walks my direction. We got him as soon as we found out my dh was deploying. He will not let anything happen to me.

    Everyone always tells me how brave and strong I am for doing all of this alone for 15 months while my dh is gone. At least mine is coming back. I can't imagine how you are dealing. Hang in there and you will get through it. One step, one day at a time. I know how WDW and planning helps. That is the first thing I did in response to dh going. It helped me with him being gone. I won't lie that it was hard being at WDW w/o him. I did a lot of crying and bittersweet type moments, but at least I know we will go again with him. Pack some tissues because there will be many times where you will want to poke him and say "look at that". My dad used to bring me to WDW as a child and I still miss him, but feel close to him when I am there. I have to hit his favorite rides and cry. Carousel of Progress makes me cry as well as when tinker bell flies from the castle. Small World makes me cry as well. You will have your moments, but I hope it will make you feel closer to him as it does with my dad.

    My prayers and thoughts are with you guys and I know that you can do this. If I can (and I also have autoimmune disease) you can too!!!! :grouphug: :lovestruc :cloud9: :dance3: :cheer2: :flower3:

    (I could probably fit more smilies in if you want me to.) :teacher:
     
  13. LONE-STAR

    LONE-STAR <font color=green>1000 miles to far from Disney<br

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    Sorry for your loss. You may want to look into purchasing your trailer out of state. We got a way better deal buying out of state we saved about 8 thousand dollars even paying 2 grand in shipping. The down side is your dealer is 1200 hundred miles away and you don't get the walk through unless you went to pick it up.
     
  14. Eeyore's Tiara

    Eeyore's Tiara DIS Veteran

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    pepperw: thank you for your prayers, i need all i can get right now. i spent 4 of the most horrible, long days in neurological critical care unit. I never want to repeat that again in my lifetime. But for the grace of God, my dh, would still be on life support because I was too weak to let him go. Thankfully I didnt have to make that decision, but agonized over it for several days before God took him home. I knew in my heart that I wasnt going to have the ability to do it, even though he didnt ever want to be left on life support. he was on blood thinners and had a massive brain hemmorrage. He was only 50. He made it through 17 1/2 years in the military, through several wars/skirmishes and died from a blood thinner. How does that happen? He was bigger than life and I thought he'd be here forever. :sad1: i'm sorry i vented...

    thank you shelley for you pm, i will be checking that out...

    mamloya, you just hit on every single one of my fears and made me feel better about them. i am scared to buy the wrong thing, to try to tow it across the country, and being by myself with my kids. i really appreciated hearing this from your perspective and I cant thank you enough for helping to alleviate some of my fears.

    I watched my mom be stong all my life, but I didnt get as much of it as she did. So you telling me your fears and how you overcame them really made me feel more like I can do this.

    the electric tongue jack is a great idea! i wouldnt have thought of that..

    and sandra, i already turn to tell him things and he's not there. it just shatters my whole world. i forget for just a little while that he's gone and then reality slams me. i lost my best friend. but i am determined to make this work, he was so supportive of me in everything i did, so i know he's rooting for me to succeed right now.

    Cassandra
     
  15. parmtoo

    parmtoo Buzz & Woody's Gram

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    Eeyore's Tiara, you have my sympathy and best wishes.............We own a keystone cougar, love it! It's a 2000 & we've never had any trouble with it.

    As for you camping with out your DH, you are an awsome mom & very strong lady. My DH is also deployed right now, (seems like he's always deployed these past few years). I have to admit, I have never even thought about towing the camper on my own. Last year DS and stayed at Pop, and as it was a very nice resort, but it just wasn't like being at FW.

    To all of you ladies out there that just hitch up the camper and go, you are an inspiration.:hug:
     
  16. des1954

    des1954 DIS Veteran

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    As time passes, your pain will ease up. It never entirely goes away - but the memories of the good times you had will prevail over the bad times. It's a healthy sign that you are pushing ahead with your plans. Oh yes... you'll have your moments of anger, depression, and frustration - and so will your children. Just cling to each other & do allow your girls to see you cry. They actually need to support you as much as you need to support them. It's all part of the healing process. Getting through the first year after such a loss is the most difficult time. It gets easier after that.

    My DH lost his youngest brother to a brain aneurysm back in 1993. He was only 33 years old...very fit & healthy. It was a total shock to everyone. He was on life support for 3 days & his DW made the terrible decision to stop the support. The rest of the family was behind her 100%. He left 3 little boys behind. At that time they were 10 months, 3 years & 6 years old. It was a very difficult time for all of us, but with God's help - we made it through. You will too. I'll keep you in my prayers & keep us posted with your progress.

    :hug:
     
  17. terri01p

    terri01p DIS Veteran

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    My heart is torn at reading your thread, life is so short and we never really know it until something happens....this reminds me to love, laugh and remember God while I can.

    I wish I had something to really contribute to your question but I don't, but I just had to send you love and strength, We never know why life turns like it does but God does know and will always be there for you.

    Remain strong for your kids and know your dh will always live thru them and in your heart. GodSpeed to you and your children and may your dh soul find much rest now ! :sad1:
     
  18. 2goofycampers

    2goofycampers Sounds like something a camping trip could cure!

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    Along with electric jack, electric stabilizer jacks would be handy also. Jayco is putting electric awnings on most models as standard equipment.



    What is the tow capacity on your van? If you need help getting any info on your van call a Ford dealer with the VIN # and they can do a print out on all the tow options your van has.
     
  19. Escape Artist

    Escape Artist Planning another getaway

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    You've gotten some really great advice here! A few thoughts I had were:

    Don't feel pressured to make your purchase and take your trip by a certain date. Give yourself time to do all this. You've been thru so much, so recently, and it's wonderful that you want to make this trip with your girls and mom, but don't put too much additional pressure on yourself to do it by a certain time.

    Have you thought about just driving your van to WDW and renting a trailer there, already set up for you? I know various links for trailer rentals have been published many times on this list. You could rent a trailer for this trip, and it would help you know a lot better what you want to buy after you get back home. Lots of people have RV remorse, where what they thought they wanted and bought is different than what they think after they've camped a few times. Yeah, it's expensive to rent, but it's cheaper than buying a trailer and then deciding you really wanted something else. Plus, then you don't have to insure it, store it, repair it or tow it! And you can always buy one in time for your next trip, after you've had the experience of using one and figuring out better what you want. We're in Texas, too, but with my kids there are precious few times to camp during the school year. Now that we're here, it pains me how much of the time my trailer just sits parked and unused. I know I would have made a different decision on our purchase if I'd known where my life was going to be four years later, and knowing I've got some college bills coming up a few short years from now.

    mamaloya mentioned having your girls help you set up. When we bought our popup, I wasn't thinking about how my kids are getting older and more helpful with each trip. Now I can envision the time when they can do everything. While you're learning, teach them too and it will be sooooo helpful for you. She also mentioned bringing a dog. That's a great idea. We got a 4 year old Dalmatian from Dalmatian rescue (a little 40 pounder) and she is the most loyal thing you've ever seen in your life! She taught me how valuable dogs are, way beyond companionship, but for personal security. When dh isn't around, I know Rory's on the job, for me and the kids. I feel good that I helped save her, too.

    I've never the been the type to ask a lot of other people for help, but when you're in a campground--and this is true for *every* campground I've ever stayed in, from California to Florida--people are wonderful. If you're having a problem, talk with your neighbors. Sometimes just a few words of experienced advice can make all the difference.

    Take care, take your time, and I know you'll find a million ways to enjoy this trip despite your tragic circumstances. Personally, I don't buy into the whole "God never gives us more than we can handle" ****, but in tough situations, there are two kinds of people in the world: people who rise to the occasion and people who are broken by it. The future is never going to be the same as you thought, hoped and planned, but you and your girls are going to be okay.

    :hug:

    Sue in Texas
     
  20. 5stljayhawks

    5stljayhawks Rock Chawk Jayhawk

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    I am sorry to hear about the loss to you and your family,

    What you need to research is the tow capacity of your van. If you have a relationship with the dealership call them up and ask them. As a rule of thumb you only want to tow 80% of the capacity. Once you know how much weight you can tow, start narrowing down your choices, by visiting local RV dealers, looking at ebay and craigslist. Take the weight you see in marking material and listed on the trailer with a grain of salt!!! You may want to add 10 to 20% of the weight to get the real weight. There are A LOT of used trailers out there, if you are wanting to load the golf cart into the back of trailer this is call a “toy hauler”

    We have a 2003 Aerolite hybrid, fold down bed ends. I think for ease for yourself, a smaller travel trailer with electric slide would suit you better than a pop-up or a hybrid…. The later can be labor intensive to set-up..

    A small pop-up would be the easiest to tow, with a travel trailer or a hybrid make sure you get a weight distribution hitch, this will help tremendously and ad another level of safety for your family. Small pop-up usually on need a sway bar.

    Also you can always rent a golf cart at disney... this allows you get a smaller camper... easy to tow

    Good luck
     
  21. RNmomnFL

    RNmomnFL Go USF Bulls!

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    We looked at some Aerolites before we bought our Fleetwood Pioneer. The Aerolites offer much lighter towing which would have been a factor if hubby didn't have his CDL license and of course do all the driving. In the past, we owned a smaller trailer (13 ft. Sunseeker I think) which I probably could've handled/driven the tow but we needed more space for our large group thus we traded up. Anyway, it might be a good idea to consider the smallest and lightest one to start. Definitely check with Ford about your towing capacity and don't exceed that. We had a regular hitch before we upsized if I recall so that would be another benefit to sticking with something small. Anyway, my condolences and I commend you for continuing your plans for those kids.
     

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